Catching rotan in winter – tackle and tactics
In the difficult winter period, fish is caught much worse than in summer, especially during the so-called deafness. Even meager bites of a roach or small perch bring great joy to anglers. That is why in winter, rotan is also a desirable prey, which at any other time is treated with open contempt by many.
This Far Eastern migrant, who got into our reservoirs with the light hand of aquarists, is actually not so bad. An excellent fish soup is obtained from rotans; they are very tasty when fried. And what is the bite of this, though small, but still a predator. Rotan does not stand on ceremony for a long time with the bait, he pecks greedily and impudently, and anyone, starting with a miniature “firebrand” and ending with a weighty specimen. This is why catching rotan in winter is attractive. On such fishing, beginners will be able to quickly master winter tackle, and professionals will hone their skills.
Where to catch
Today rotan has occupied most of the reservoirs in our latitudes, but not all. Most often it can be found on river bays and stagnant lakes, which are pretty overgrown with grass in summer. In winter, he swarms in the remains of vegetation, looking for various small animals.
It should be said that during the cold season, the behavior of this fish can change. In November-December, the object of fishing still remains in the usual shallow water near the coast, and with the arrival of severe cold weather, it moves from the coastal zone deep into the reservoir and settles in areas where the depth reaches 2-2.5 meters. During this period, he is inert, behaves more cautiously, can nudge the bait, but not peck. Nevertheless, with a certain skill it is possible to hook him.
In search of inactive rotan, you should be guided by the only rule: the more holes you drill, the more significant the catch will be. If it doesn’t respond in one, the other will work. Holes can be drilled anywhere: closer to the shore, further, in the middle of thickets of dry reeds. Unlike many other types of fishing, catching rotan in winter on the first ice does not require a fisherman to thoroughly know the bottom relief. It can stand over an uneven bottom or over a completely flat one. Another thing is more important for him – the presence of plant remains, snags, foliage, branches and other trash that have settled to the bottom. In places like this, he feels great.
You don’t need any special tackle for catching rotan in winter. In the cold season, it does not offer much resistance, except for the first few seconds after the hook, so you can pull it out with the simplest winter fishing rod, not necessarily strong.
Most often, anglers use a cheap fishing rod with a reel, designed for fishing with a jig or a spoon. If a large rotan is found in the reservoir, the weight of which reaches 300 g, you can catch it with a live bait – a fishing rod with a rig consisting of a sliding sinker and a large hook with a long forearm. The chances of a good catch will increase significantly if you arm yourself with a combined tackle – with a spoon and a hook on a separate leash. In this case, the moving fry on the hook will transmit vibrations to the spoon. Not a single large Amur sleeper swims by such a proposal indifferently.
It is desirable that the rod be equipped with a soft, sensitive nod that allows the lure to play smoothly. For example, a spring.
Rotan loves “active food”. Even if he is not hungry, which is almost never the case, he will still pay attention to the bait. Namely, it will try to push the uninvited guest out of its territory. At the same time, his actions will be so persistent that there will be no problems with the undercut.
Line thickness should be appropriate for the season and the weight of the baits used. On the first ice, when rotan is fattening with might and main, pouncing on everything that moves and fits in the mouth, even a diameter of 0.2 mm will not frighten him. In the middle of winter, it is better to put on a fishing rod a thinner monofilament – 0.12, 0.1 and even 0.08 mm, if the fish is too careful. We must not forget that in cold weather the line freezes, loses its elasticity and can break. In order not to lose the rig along with the production, it is better to overpay a little and purchase high-quality fishing line from a well-known manufacturer.
Lures and groundbait
Rotan is a notorious meat eater. In addition to worms and larvae, you can offer him a mollusk, fry, a piece of meat or fish, a piece of lung or liver (animals, birds), a strip of chicken skin, tripe, for lard (including salted). Some forgetful fishermen, who accidentally left the harvested bait at home, manage to catch it with sausage. Of course, there is practically no meat in today’s sausages, but there are strong flavors, the “meat” smell of which attracts a predator well.
Among the artificial lures in winter fishing for rotan on the pond, the mormysh like devil, oatmeal and droplet have proven themselves in the best way. Thanks to its huge mouth, rotan easily swallows prey that exceeds the girth of its body in volume, therefore, preference should be given to medium and large jigs with hooks no less than No. 4. The use of small baits will entail certain problems: you will have to fiddle with each fish caught for a long time, removing the jig from its “bottomless” mouth. To completely interest the predator with a playing jig, a thin strip of fish meat, bloodworms or a piece of worm should be planted on its hook. It will also affect a rubber edible – a cut made of edible silicone.
In winter, rotan is often caught on scrappers – vertical perch lures with three soldered hooks. The size and color of such bait does not really matter. Even if the object of fishing does not regard the spoon as prey, he will still rush to defend his territory and will end up on one of the hooks. The same success can be achieved when fishing with a balancer.
It is advisable to feed rotan only if large specimens are found in the reservoir. Upon reaching a certain age, it becomes a pronounced predator. It begins to eat caviar, fry of other species, and does not disdain its smaller relatives. Therefore, in fishing for trophy rotan, such a specific bait, as cutting from it, does not interfere. At worst, you can throw a pinch of bloodworms or crushed worms into the hole, but there is a risk that they will collect many small individuals to the point.
Winter rotan catching tactics
Contrary to the firm opinion of the majority of fishermen that fishing for rotan should be started with preparing at least a dozen holes, the tactics may be somewhat different. If there is a large concentration of this fish in the reservoir, you will not have to look for it for a long time. Especially during the first ice and during the early spring thaws. During these periods, rotan can already respond to the first hole, so there is no point in working your hands.
As a rule, you will have to act when rotan is inactive. Namely, drill 10-15 holes, placing them in a checkerboard pattern and moving from the coastal shallow water to a depth. Those closest to the shore begin to fish first. For catching one hole, 5 minutes is quite enough, in the absence of bites, you can move on to the next and so on. It happens that not a single hole works. This means that there are no rotans in the selected area; they must be looked for elsewhere.
If there are bites, but rare, then you can install fishing rods on several holes, and then in turn bypass them and play with bait. The rotan bites greedily, swallows the bait deeply, so there is no need for timely hooking. He will simply swallow the hook and will not go anywhere.